Fresh donor pledges as African foreign ministers meet

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - Foreign Ministers from Australia, Denmark, India, Japan and Austria Thursday made fresh pledges of aid and diplomatic support for Africa, as the Executive Council meeting of the African Union (AU) kicked off here.

The Japanese State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Takeaki Matsumoto, announced his country's plan to offer US$15 billion in aid to Africa over the next three years, as well as an expanded three-point plan for Africa’s development covering trade, investment, health and education and international diplomatic support.

Indian Foreign Minister Preneet Kaur also offered the country's support to Africa during her country’s two-year long tenure at the UN Security Council, calling for more seats for African countries on the UN organ that is responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security.

“The new chapter that has been opened in the relationship between a resurgent Africa and a rapidly-growing India is anchored in the fundamental principles of equality, mutual respect and mutual benefit,” the minister told the opening session of the Executive Council.

Denmark’s Foreign Minister Lene Espersen said she was pleased that Danish investors in East Africa considered Africa the new centre for the world’s economic growth.

“For Denmark, relations and cooperation with Africa have been very important part of our foreign policy agenda for decades. Bilateral relations with many of your countries are strong, just as our cooperation at the continental level is significant and continues to evolve,” the minister said.

Australia’s Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said his country ''comes to the scene with different ideas. We have built our economy through agriculture, mining and fishing and we are ready to share our experiences with Africa.”

Australia, the minister said, had invested US$20 billion in various mining activities in Africa, with over 200 Australian firms engaged in the field.

“We stand ready to help Africa develop legislation to help develop Africa’s mining industry. The African people deserve a fair return from the natural resources of the continent,” Rudd said.

Austria announced plans to double aid to Africa to US$4 billion, and promised to help mobilize the billions required to help African countries deal with the crisis of climate change.

The Executive Council meeting, which gathers mainly African foreign ministers from the organisation’s 53 member countries, prepares the final decisions to be taken by the continent’s leaders.
-0- PANA AO/SEG 27Jan2011

27 janvier 2011 12:28:04

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